Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Nanny Rights

Mary_poppins The Washington Post is reporting on attempts to organize nannies into the National Alliance of Domestic Workers.  The D.C. area group which, like other domestic workers, cannot be recognized as a union under the NLRA, appears to be primarily focused on lobbying, particularly for a "Domestic Worker Bill of Rights":

[T]he nannies want to be assured of at least minimum wage, $6.15 an hour, or $7.15 in the District. A similar "nanny bill" was passed in New York City a few years ago by another member of the alliance, which represents 200,000 nannies from 42 countries. . . .

The Bureau of Labor Statistics which lumps nanny wages together with other child-care workers, found that of 1.3 million child-care jobs in 2004, workers were paid between $5.90 and $12.34 an hour, with a mean annual wage of about $17,000 a year.

A 2006 survey, done for the Montgomery [County, MD] council, of about 280 nannies in the county found that live-in nannies generally are paid $6.29 an hour and that a majority of live-out nannies received minimum wage or more. But the vast majority did not get overtime, 20 percent had paid vacations, 15 percent had paid sick days, 28 percent reported that money was deducted for Social Security taxes and fewer than 16 percent had health insurance.

Even if a local minimum wage is enacted, it will be difficult to enforce given that many nannies are from other countries and often unaware of their rights.  The group is wise, therefore, to also educate families employing nannies.  As one group leader states, "[f]or a lot of people, hiring a nanny is the first time that they become an employer. . . .  Even though they're well-meaning, they don't have the proper guidelines. We want to help them do the right thing."

-JH

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